I bought the seed for ‘Pilar’ aka ‘Zapallito Redondo de Tronco,’ an unusual squash variety two years back from New World Seeds and Tubers. I tried to direct-sow the seed outdoors twice in that first year, but was unable to coax a single seed to germinate. This spring I over-sowed indoors underneath light to be safe, and was successful with one plant. One single, glorious, phenomenal, plant!
Normally I would bemoan such a poor germination rate, but there are so many factors to consider that I would never condemn a grower or a particular variety based on one experience alone. And to be honest, I am so pleased with the outcome, that the effort it took to get here is moot.
Let’s talk about the plant.
We eat a great deal of summer squash aka zucchini through their productive season (midsummer on), and I am always on the look out for new varieties to try. I especially seek more compact, bushing types that produce well in a small space. I was drawn to this variety due to its bushing habit and its usefulness as both a summer and winter squash. As a small space gardener I prefer two-for-one varieties that will function as a summer squash early in the season when harvested young and immature and can then be grown out to maturity towards fall, allowing for storage.
Typically, my go-to 2-for-1 special is ‘Nice de Rond’ a much more compact, round, bush-type. I worried that ‘Pilar’ would be too much like it and opted not to grow it this year, but in fact, the two produce very different fruit and I could have grown both without overlap. When harvested young to be used as a zucchini, I find ‘Pilar’ to be unlike any other summer squash I have grown. The texture of the fruit is denser and less spongy than a typical summer squash. Davin’s reaction when I cut into it (without any prior knowledge) was that it would work well breaded and fried, and indeed, I have since learned that this is how it is commonly prepared in South America. So far, we have enjoyed it sliced thinly and eaten raw, and fried with rice and pasta, but we plan to experiment further as more fruit comes in this summer.
- Bushing growth habit with a wide girth.
- Maxima type squash (Most winter squashes are in this subgroup.)
- Round fruit with minimal pumpkin-like ribbing.
- Productive. I’ve been getting no less than 6 male flowers per day and the females (fruit bearing) are coming on strong.
- Can be harvested immature (4 inches or less) and used as a summer squash, or allowed to mature and used as a winter squash.
- Container Growing: I haven’t tried yet, but would suggest a very large container (16″+) for maximum yield.
- Further Notes: Originally from Argentina.
- The name, ‘Zapallito Redondo de Tronco’ translates to “Round Maxima-type summer squash”
Have you ever grown this squash variety? What did you think of it?